Moldovan leaders condemn Nazi graffiti on synagogue

Authorities discover swastikas, map of Greater Romania; police launch investigation; chief rabbi calls incident "a provocative act."

swastika graffiti 298.88 (photo credit: AP)
swastika graffiti 298.88
(photo credit: AP)
CHISINAU, Moldova — Moldova's interim president and the leader of the country's Jews on Wednesday condemned Nazi graffiti scrawled on synagogue walls in the capital.
Authorities discovered swastikas and other Nazi symbols drawn on the synagogue's walls early Sunday, and the unidentified vandals also drew a a map of Greater Romania, which included Moldova before World War II. Police were investigating.
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Chief Rabbi Zalman Abelski called the incident "a provocative act."
Interim President Mihai Ghimpu also condemned the vandalism, saying the graffiti was an attack against the governing Alliance for European Integration, which has close ties with Romania and supports integration into the European Union. Ghimpu added, however, that the incident would not harm inter-ethnic relations in the former Soviet republic of 4.1 million.
Moldova will hold elections in November, the third since April 2009. The current governing alliance of four political parties faces the pro-Moscow Communists, which governed from 2001 to 2009.
Romania was allied with Nazi Germany until 1944 and lost Moldova in 1940, when it was occupied by Soviet forces. Moldova declared independence when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.
The Jewish community was thriving before World War II, but there are now estimated to be 12,000 Jews in the former Soviet Republic. Twenty years ago, there were 66,000 Jews. Many emigrated to Israel.